Saturday, April 21, 2018

This Butterfly Means Business

I wasn't kidding when I said that I was going to make another Butterfly Shawl.  I've already started!

I'm telling myself, in my usual over-achieving way, that I am going to do at least one section a night.  We'll see how soon that falls by the wayside.  Especially once I get three hundred stitches and more on the needles.

But so far, it still has that New Project Smell, and I can't wait to take it out for a, knit.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Butterfly Shawl Revisited

I promised I would show this once it was all blocked, so, behold the butterfly.

I think it's beautiful, even though I made it with sport weight yarn instead of fingering, so it's more like a diagonal blanket than a shawl.

Meaning it's kinda heavy.  Meaning I will never wear it.  (Meaning hours and hours of work and tons of yarn and I will never, never wear it.  And yet, that is nothing new!  Insert mad laughter here.)

While I was making it, I thought, "This is so much fun, I'm going to make another with fingering weight yarn!"

I didn't have enough of the colors I wanted to use for Butterfly 2, though, and I successfully resisted buying more yarn and adding to my Enormo-Stash--you know, the Stash that Ate Los Angeles?

And then, well, by the thousandth wrap and turn, I admit I was getting a little sick of it.

But once it was blocked, and enough time passed, I started thinking of knitting another.

I have a nice gradient yarn that would look gorgeous, but as I said, I didn't have enough.

I knew my friend Elisa had a skein of the same yarn, however, and I offered to buy it, since she hadn't used hers yet, and lo and behold, she GAVE it to me!!!!  I mean, GAVE.  Sorry, didn't mean to shout, but y'know, it's really nice yarn, meaning it ain't cheap, and it's pretty, and she just GAVE it to me.  I knew she was a good friend, but this is ridiculous!

So, now I simply have to make this again, don't I?  If you are drawn to it, click here for the pattern.  Not free, but worth the money.  Lots of pics, line-by-line directions, and so fun to watch the butterfly emerge from it's yarn-ball cocoon.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Happy Bears

Just looking at this quilt makes me happy.

The blocks and their yellow borders, as well as the smaller pink, black, and yellow squares, were all scraps from the Treasure Table at the Guild.

In other words, free!  More happy dancing!

The middle square actually showed up many months ago.  It has been hanging out in my stash, waiting for its cue.

The other "balloon animals" showed up recently, and they seemed made for each other.

I couldn't resist working on this, while other older projects languished.

The sashing (white paisley), blue border, backing, and binding came out of my stash.

I've been watching Angela Walters (free) Free Motion Quilting Challenge videos, and I tried out a couple of the techniques she shows, like stippling.  I have seen videos on how to do this before, but she makes it so easy and fun.

Click on her name above, and it will take you to her YouTube channel, where you can access all her videos.

Happy quilting!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Blocking for Beginners

I blogged about a scarf recently, and I said it had not been blocked yet.

It has been brought to my attention by my sainted mother that some people, who aren't knitters or crocheters but who read my blog (mainly because my sainted mother sends it to them), don't know what "blocking" is.

In short, blocking helps with shaping.  I hope you can see from these photos the difference blocking will make with this shawl.  Maybe not a huge difference, but nonetheless noticeable.

In the photo, it's clear things are a bit poochy.  Even when I smooth out the shawl and try to get it to lie flat, it refuses.

Stubborn shawl refusing to lie flat

Handmade items can sometimes appear a bit wonky, even when well-made, sometimes just because you're working with fiber, which has stretchy and smushy properties ("smushy" being a technical term.  I know this because the computer keeps trying to auto-correct my spelling of it.)

Plus, some days your stitches can be a little tighter or looser than others.  This can happen for a lot of reasons.  Say you watched the news as you knitted (reason enough to make myriad mistakes, let alone have your stitch tension be really tense!)  Maybe you didn't get enough sleep, or conversely, you did get enough sleep, or you were hurrying to finish a row before you had to get back to work from your lunch break, or the weather was humid, or you were distracted talking with your knitting buddies, or it was Wednesday.

So you can pin the item in question to a towel or a flat piece of styrofoam or special wonderful blocking mats such as the ones I have.  Pin the item to the shape you want, like straight edges for a scarf, for example, spray with water, and let dry.  Boom!  It's blocked.

We knitters and crocheters use T-pins for this, as that crossbar at the top of the pin keeps it from potentially poking all the way through, as a regular sewing straight pin would.

Some people soak the item, roll it in a towel to remove excess water, then pin to shape and let dry, but I never bother with that because I am lazy.  Or maybe because I would rather be working on the next project.  Yes, let's say it's the latter, that sounds much better.

I know!  It's because I am saving water in the drought!!!!

When the whole thing is blocked, I will post a pic of the finished shawl.  Stay tuned.